Chair of the judging panel, Allison Pearson is an award-winning author and journalist. Allison’s first novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was translated into 32 languages and sold several million copies. Oprah Winfrey called it, “A Bible for the working mother.” Allison was named Newcomer of the Year at The British Book awards. The novel was later made into a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Allison’s highly praised second novel, I Think I Love You was set in her native South Wales.

Allison Pearson

Allison is now a columnist and interviewer on the Daily Telegraph, having begun her journalistic career as a TV critic on the Independent on Sunday. She appears frequently on radio and television and is presently working on the sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It.

Allison lives in Cambridge with her family and two poodles and is a patron of the Cambridge Literary Festival. She is passionate about her involvement with the Lucy Cavendish Prize, which has helped to bring so many unheard wonderful women’s voices to public attention. Allison’s literary agency, Peters Fraser Dunlop, offers representation to the prize’s winner, making the Lucy prize very special indeed.



Nelle Andrew is an agent at Peters Fraser and Dunlop. She represents NY Times and Sunday Times bestsellers and is a Bookseller Rising Star of 2016. Before joining PFD she worked at Pan Macmillan. She is interested in well-written, accessible literary fiction, Book Club, clever suspense and crime as well as wonderful storytelling that defies genre pigeon-holing. She has a BA Hons from Warwick University in English with Creative Writing and an MPhil from Trinity College Dublin in Creative Writing with Publishing. Before she was made an agent she was published as a fiction author in her own right hence her particular empathy for debut authors who need the attention to detail and primary care so necessary to establish their careers. 


Linda Grant worked as a journalist and column writer for the Guardian newspaper before publishing her first book, and her works of fiction and non-fiction have won many awards since. Her first novel, The Cast Iron Shore, was published in 1996. It won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Her second novel, When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate, won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize. Her novel, Still Here (2002) was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Clothes On Their Backs (2008) won the South Bank Show award. Linda read English at the University of York, completed an M.A. in English at MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and did further post-graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. In July 2012, Linda received an honorary doctorate from the University of York.

Photo credit: Judah Passow



Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, and a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. Her novels have been published in 32 languages and include The Carrier (2013) which won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets. Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries.  Her second Poirot novel, Closed Casket, was published in September 2016.

Photo credit: Phillippa Gedge



Dr Ian Patterson is a widely-published poet, translator and writer, and a Fellow in English of Queens' College, Cambridge. His main interests are in modernism, twentieth-century and contemporary literature, especially poetry. He is currently working on a new assessment of interactions between writing and left-wing politics between 1929 and 1950, and writing a book which analyses contemporary literary culture through a hostile critique of Ian McEwan's work. Before becoming an academic, he was a second-hand bookdealer.  Before that, he worked in Further Education. 




Gillian Stern will return to the judging panel this year. She is an editor of literary and commercial fiction, who after 15 years of commissioning books in the social sciences, championed a debut novel that went on to win the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Richard and Judy Summer Reads of Summer Reads. Passionate about fiction and experienced in spotting and editing bestsellers, Gillian is also a successful ghostwriter, having ghosted eight memoirs to dates. She works on a freelance basis as a structural editor for several publishers including Bloomsbury, Orion and Penguin and critiques and edits for many leading literary agencies including Curtis Brown, Conville & Walsh, PFD, RCW, Furniss Lawton, Aitken Alexander and A M Heath. She also works with The Writer’s Workshop, The Literary Consultancy and mentors writers sent to her by agents, publishers and word of mouth recommendations.



Dr Lindsey Traub


Dr Lindsey Traub returns to the judging panel of 2017. She is an Emeritus Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, having previously been both College Lecturer in English and Vice-President. Addicted to fiction since childhood, she has spent her working life thinking, talking and writing about it – with a particular interest in 19th Century American women writers who penned the very first ‘bestsellers’. 




Gwyneth Williams joins the judging panel for the first time this year, and brings with her the valuable experience of commissioning for broadcast audiences. A BBC Controller since 2010, Gwyneth is responsible for the editorial content and leadership of Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. She started her career in Bush House as a trainee talks writer, worked at the Overseas Development Institute, and then joined Radio 4 to produce The World Tonight.  She edited the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures for many years before becoming the Head of Radio Current Affairs.  She returned to the World Service as Director of BBC World Service English where she was responsible for output delivered to 40 million listeners. In addition to her broadcasting career, Gwyneth has published two books, one on the politics of the developing world and another (co-authored) about Southern Africa.

In this section

Vicki Jarrett, Shortlisted Author

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"The Fiction Prize shortlisting was very important to me at an early stage of my writing career." Vicki Jarrett, 2016

Our Fiction Prize

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Just how did we choose our winner?

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